Again, see title
31.10.2011 - 08.11.2011
The next week and a half in BeiBei were pretty chill. Not a whole lot happened but for the sake of completeness I’ll do a quick entry on it.
Sunday (Oct. 30) was Guy’s birthday. The group had to meet at 10 to finish cleaning the courtyard. We moved all the tables back to the Waiban office, got the toilet paper out of the trees, and finished sweeping up the garbage. After that we had the rest of the afternoon free. For Guy’s birthday we all met around 7 to go out for his (and mine) favorite thing, hot pot. It was a pretty big group of us. It was Guy (obviously), Dan, Cindy, Sarita, Nolan, Zach, Deanna, Kia, Axel, Rae (Bert’s girlfriend who became one of my best Chinese friends), Leyi, Sri Pan, Aing, Gao, Som, (four of the Thai girls we got to know while we at SWU), Emily, and her friend Kachumay. We took the city bus (and pretty much filled up the whole thing) across BeiBei to a hot pot restaurant that had been recommended to us. It ended up being really good. It was a lot of fun being with everyone and Guy had a great time. After Hot Pot we went back to Gate 5 and met up with some more friends. In addition to it being Guy’s birthday It was also Sri Pan and Aing’s last night in China. They had just graduated and were returning home to Thailand the next day to start teaching. It was really sad because I had just started to get to know them. After a couple hours I said my good byes and headed home.
There’s really not too much to say about the school week (Oct 31-Nov. 4). Chinese was beginning to become more comprehendible everyday so I no longer dreaded going to class. I just disliked the early mornings. Kung Fu was cancelled for the week due to the rain. All of our Kung Fu classes were outside so whenever the weather was too terrible we simply didn’t have class. In calligraphy we kept working on painting. I got really good at frogs, but that was about it. In ethnology we just continued plugging away at the dynasties (if you didn’t know there are a ton of them and they all kind of blur together).
On Tuesday (Nov. 1) night we had Ladies Night with Annie. At least once a month, usually more, Annie and all of the girls on our trip (Deanna, Kia, Cindy, Sarita, and I) would go out for the night. It was a great way to relax, catch up with the girls, and get to know Annie outside of the classroom. We went out to dinner all together at one of the restaurants Sarita and I liked best. It was down by Noodle Man and lucky for us had an English menu so we could actually order more than just the 10 or so things we knew how to say. They had amazing eggplant. After dinner we took the trolley over to gate 2 to one of the coffee shops. It had amazing lavender tea and over National Holiday Deanna, Cindy, Kia, and Annie had discovered it. The tea was great and so was the conversation. I always left ladies nights feeling refreshed and excited for what was to come on our trip. Annie challenged us with discussions. She asked us to really explore ourselves and to discover why we held certain truths. She also was filled with fun stories to tell us, from her past dating experiences, her college experience (she went to college in Denmark that used no grades and the entire curriculum was built around conducting their own One Question Projects), and her experiences as a mom.
On Wednesday (Nov. 2) we went to Chongqing for Sam’s class. We went to see the TANK institute. It is an art institute built in the art district of Chongqing. The art district was not what I expected to find in China. It was filled with artfully graffitied buildings that stood out so much from the usual stark monotony of Chinese apartment buildings. TANK was also pretty sweet. It was filled with different studios that we got to tour. All of the art work was different. One artist combined new art with propaganda objects from the Cultural Revolution, another mixed traditional art with new forms of air brushing to make neon bright prints of things like tigers and pigs, another drew run down apartments contorted into different shapes or emerging from everyday objects such as the back of a car or with an old man carrying it, another had comic book like illustrations with the eyes of the people drawn over with red and background that sad things like GDP with an arrow pointing up. It was all really artsy and cool, but not necessarily what you would expect to see in China. It was great for changing how we all perceived China.
The rest of the school week was non-descript.
On Saturday (Nov. 5) Sarita, Luke and I went with Kevin, Otabek, Alex (a quiet, shy, sweet guy from Sweden), Pablo (an adorable sweetheart of a guy from Argentina), Oley (a soccer player from Laos), and a few others to Chongqing for the day. We caught the bus from downtown BeiBei to Shabingba district of Chongqing. We all were craving pizza so we went to a Western style buffet for lunch. Sadly, it was not very good, but it solved out pizza cravings. After that we wandered around for a few hours. Sarita was out of conditioner so we found a store where she could get that and the boys looked around at stuff. It was a pretty chill day, but it was fun getting out with other people and getting to know the international kids better.
Sunday (Nov. 6) was just spent catching up on homework, making sure I understood all the concepts we had covered so far in Chinese, learning some characters, working on visual journal stuff, and putting together materials for my Summer in DC internship application.
Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 7-8) were pretty low key too as our group focused on getting ready for our trip to Yunnan.